[REVIEW] The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir by Maude Julien @OneworldNews

I was attracted to this book because I adore memoirs but something stood out when I came across this book because when I read its synopsis I was immediately intrigued. I added it to my to-read-list and then began investigating it further.

In Maude Julien’s memoir The Only Girl in the World we enter the world of power, control and madness but at the same time of escape and finding salvation from it all. Maude Julien’s father is an individual whose personality is deranged – filled with lunacy and ideas of upper most greatness. At a young age Monsieur Didier had a majestic plan which was to raise a superhuman – someone who will make him proud and who he’ll teach all the necessities one needs to conquer this world. He managed to get a child from some people and promised them that she’ll be given the best education he can afford and that she’ll be safe in exchange for her parents to never see her again. The girl he ‘adopted’ later on became his wife and they had a child named Maude. His wish of creating a superhuman was  becoming a reality with the birth of Maude and he began doing everything he could to make her exactly that. The training involved her to, at a very young age, drink alcohol and build tolerance for it, holding an electric fence for ten minutes without flinching and other horrifying things. With all these things that happened to her she still managed to stay sane and overcome some large psychological damage caused by her parents with the help of therapy and her friends.

The one thing that instantly pulls you into the story is the first three pages of the Introduction when Maude tells us her fathers chilling plan and at the end of it she writes ‘That child was me.’ I felt shivers down my spine when I read this Introduction. Once I began reading this book I kept turning and turning pages because the story it contains is unbelievable and gripping. The things her father teaches her are ludicrous and I will provide some examples of her fathers ‘wisdom’:

‘If you go and live with other humans, they’ll treat you the way the ducks in the pond treat Pitou. They won’t think twice about making mincemeat of you for the stupidest reasons, or for no reason at all.’  pg. 13

‘‘You don’t know how lucky you are to be spared from being polluted by other people,’ he tells me.’ pg. 19

‘Love is a colossal sham to amuse the masses. If anyone ever tells you he loves you, don’t believe him. It will be because he wants something from you: your power or your money. Never,  never, never trust anyone. I alone know what’s good for you. If you do as I say,you can rule the world and overthrow the darkness.’  pg. 141

‘You see what living beings are like? You think Perisaut is so sweet and affectionate towards you, but he wouldn’t think twice about eating you if he could – he’s happy enough eating his own kind! People are the same, they’re cannibals, quite prepared to betray you and eat you. Do you see now why you can’t trust anyone but me?’ pg. 172

These are clear examples of his lunacy and grand ideas for her. What amazes me is how she managed to find hope from all the torture and torment she endured. I just wish that we had more of her now life story because I’d be interested in learning about her education as a therapist and the ways she overcame her struggles. We do get a glimpse into her now life where she talks about the effects she has suffered due to trauma but I wish it was longer.

For any memoir lover this is a must-read because of Maude’s chilling childhood filled with psychological control, torment but also hope that one can overcome severe trauma.

I would like to thank the publisher Oneworld Publications for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 

Add ‘The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir‘ to your TBR: 

*Purchase ‘The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir‘ here: 

*Purchase ‘The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir‘ with free international delivery here: 

 

**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Having escaped her parents’ clutches, today Maude Julien is a psychologist specializing in manipulation. She is working on a second book that examines case studies she has encountered in her work and is currently preparing a TED Talk on psychological control

Find her on: GoodReads

[REVIEW] The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

This book has been everywhere since September/November time: on Goodreads, on Instagram, Twitter etc. I read a few raving reviews and have wanted to read it ever since and when I got the chance I was so excited! I am so glad I had the chance to read it because this book is something very special.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies follows Cyril Avery from the age of seven and decade by decade into his seventies. Cyril Avery is someone who has been left as a child in care of two very peculiar people, Charles and Maude Avery. His adoptive parents’ peculiarity is pretty extreme because from an early age Cyril learns a lot by looking at them and observing their behaviour. One of the things his adoptive father always says to him is: ‘You’re not a real Avery’ which is a sentence he will remember all his life.  Since we follow Cyril decade by decade what happens next is that we follow him as he goes on to college and becomes acquainted with a boy named Julian. They become very good friends and their friendship is something that we learn a lot about throughout the book. This will be all I’m going to say about the synopsis of this book.

‘I sometimes feel as if I wasn’t supposed to live among people at all. As if I would be happier on a little island somewhere, all alone with my books and some writing material for company. I could grow my own food and never have to speak to a soul..’

“I was deluding myself, for love was one thing but desire was something else entirely.”

“It’s as if she understood completely the condition of loneliness and how it undermines us all, forcing us to make choices that we know are wrong for us.”

“I’ve always believed that if women could only collectively harness the power that they have then they’d rule the world.”

The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a book that leaves a mark on you – its story makes you turn the pages and dive into Cyril Avery’s life filled with moments of happiness and moments of great sadness. I loved the humour in this book and the line which has stayed with me is the ‘Cyril II’ because every time Cyril II was mentioned I cracked up. I laughed out loud reading this book and felt very sad and angry reading it. Boyne touches on many topics such as homosexuality in Ireland, the view of the church which was very assertive at that time, the AIDS crisis and much more. After I finished the book I quickly found the pages where Boyne talked about the inspiration behind this book and why he wrote it which I really enjoyed reading because it gave a new dimension into the story. This book has been pretty hyped up but it doesn’t fail like most hyped-up books tend to do – it is truly brilliant. I love following stories that span through decades like A Little Life so I knew that I would enjoy this one as well. I just found a small tiny thing annoying in the book and that was seven-year-olds talking about sex because it didn’t feel realistic [I might be wrong] but other than that I have no complaints. Once again, a wonderfully told story about a gay man and his struggles with finding himself.

You can obviously see by my review and rating that this is a book you should be picking up and reading ASAP.

I would like to thank the publisher Transworld Books (Black Swan) for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. I am forever grateful.

My rating: 

Add ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies‘ to your TBR: 

*Purchase ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies‘ here: 

*Purchase ‘The Heart’s Invisible Furies‘ with free international delivery here: 

 

**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

John Boyne (born 30 April 1971 in Dublin) is an Irish novelist. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he won the Curtis Brown prize. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEA. John Boyne is the author of ten novels for adults and five for young readers, as well as a collection of short stories.
His novels are published in over 50 languages. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, which to date has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide, is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a film adaptation was released in September 2008

Find him on: WebsiteGoodReads, Twitter.

 

[REVIEW] Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind by Jaime Lowe

Whenever I stumble upon a mental health book I make sure to read it because to me mental health is the most important thing in one’s life. I try and read mental health books as often as I can and I hope this year will be filled with great mental health books. Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing my Mind is a very interesting and thoroughly researched book on bipolar disorder and the drug Lithium.

In Mental we are introduced to Jaime Lowe, a woman who suffers from bipolar disorder (bipolar I) and who as you can tell by the title takes lithium (a commonly used drug to treat bipolar disorder). In her memoir she tells us the story of her life with and without Lithium – her younger days filled with manic episodes which weren’t yet diagnosed and her post-adolesence life filled with therapy and taking medication in order to control her bipolar disorder. Even though this is a memoir it is also a well-researched exploration of the drug, Lithium – its effects, good and bad sides.

As I mentioned Lithium is widely known in treating bipolar disorder and the Lowe’s decision to include her research of the drug into her memoir works pretty well because it makes the novel in its way much more enjoyable. Mental does have some downsides because of its repetitiveness and switching from one story to the other in a chapter. Lowe provides us with a lot of historical information about Lithium, its components and how it was used in the past. While researching she has interviewed many psychiatrists, psychologists and scientists who gave her more insight on the drug as well as us, the reader. I have learned where the first mental institution was built and how mentally ill people were treated back then. I have highlighted a few quotes and interesting information from this book which I’ll share below:

‘’One of the first examples of hysteria was observed by Thomas Sydenham in 1681.’’

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‘‘[talking about mania] There’s a magnetism to that kind of high, and I knew I could draw people to me.’’

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‘’I turned into a comet or a supernova, bursting but going in no particular direction, aimed at nothing but intensely moving forward on a trajectory to nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Everything was eclipsed by me. I was the sun, the moon, the solar system, the beginning of time and the end.”

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’’When you are depressed you want to be a time traveler, going back, going forward, being anywhere but in the here and now.’’

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‘‘One night when H was away, the sky shook and lit up like war.’’

To anyone who loves learning about mental disorders or bipolar disorder in particular I would recommend this book because it contains plenty of interesting information and the work Lowe put in it shines through the pages.

I would like to thank the publisher (Blue Riders Press) and Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 

Add ‘Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind‘ to your TBR: 

*Purchase ‘Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind‘ here: 

*Purchase ‘Mental: Lithium, Love, and Losing My Mind‘ with free international delivery here: 

 

**I am in no way compensated by these sites. I am simply sharing it so people can find this book easier.

Jaime Lowe is a writer living in Brooklyn. She is a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine and her work has appeared in New York magazine, EsquireSports Illustrated, Maxim, Gawker, The Village Voice,  LA Weekly, and on ESPN.com. Lowe is the author of Digging for Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB, a biography of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Find her on: Twitter

[2018-READING-LIST] Books I’m planning on reading this year

Last year was a somewhat great reading year for me [I just wish I read more books]. I discovered many authors and read some excellent books that will stay with me for a while. I have decided to make a to-read-list post because I want to share with you my potential TBR for 2018. This year will be very busy for me so I’ve set a goal of 10 books this year but I have more on my 2018 TBR. I really hope to get to them all this year because they all sound wonderful and I am very excited to read them all! Some of the books are 2017/18 ARC’s and some are my own copies of books. *

*this list might get updated because of other new books coming out this year.

Let’s begin:

The Only Girl in the World: A Memoir by Maude Julien

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Maude Julien’s childhood was defined by the iron grip of her father, who was convinced his daughter was destined for great deeds. His plan began when he adopted Maude’s mother and indoctrinated her with his esoteric ideals. Her mission was to give him a daughter as blonde as she was, and then to take charge of the child’s education. That child was Maude, on whom her father conducted his outrageous experiment—to raise the perfect ‘super-human’ being.

The three lived in an isolated mansion in northern France, where her father made her undergo endless horrifying endurance tests. Maude had to hold an electric fence without flinching. Her parents locked her in a cellar overnight and ordered her to sit still on a stool in the dark, contemplating death, while rats scurried around her feet.

How did this girl, with her loveless and lonely childhood, emerge so unscathed, so full of the empathy that was absent in her childhood? How did she manage to escape?

Maude was sustained by her love of nature and animals and her passion for literature. In writing this memoir, Maude Julien shows that it is possible to overcome severe trauma. She recounts her chilling and deeply moving story in a compelling and compassionate voice.

As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann

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In the seventeenth century, the English Revolution is under way. The nation, seething with religious and political discontent, has erupted into violence and terror. Jacob Cullen and his fellow soldiers dream of rebuilding their lives when the fighting is over. But the shattering events of war will overtake them.
A darkly erotic tale of passion and obsession, As Meat Loves Salt is a gripping portrait of England beset by war. It is also a moving portrait of a man on the brink of madness. Hailed as a masterpiece, this is a novel by a most original new voice in fiction.

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

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Find your magic

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.

The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones

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In the spirit of Station Eleven and California, award-winning novelist Holly Goddard Jones offers a literary spin on the dystopian genre with this gripping story of survival and humanity about a group of adrenaline junkies who jump -the Salt Line.-

How far will they go for their freedom–once they decide what freedom really means?

In an unspecified future, the United States’ borders have receded behind a salt line–a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what’s left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife.

Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks–and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line.

The Locals by Jonathan Dee

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A rural, working class New England town elects as its mayor a New York hedge fund millionaire in this urgent and inspired novel for our times.

Mark Firth is a home builder in Howland, Massachusetts who, after being swindled by a financial advisor, feels opportunity passing him and his family by. What future can he promise to his wife Karen and their young daughter Haley? When a wealthy money manager, Philip Hadi, moves to Howland to escape post-9/11 New York, he hires Mark to turn his his house into a secure location. The collision of these two men’s very different worlds — rural vs urban, middle class vs rich — propels Jonathan Dee’s powerful new novel. After the town’s first selectman passes away suddenly, Hadi runs for office and begins subtly transforming the town in his image with unexpected results for Mark and his extended family. THE LOCALS is that rare work of fiction capable of capturing a fraught American moment in real time. It is also a novel that is timeless in its depiction of American small town life.

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

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With the publication of her first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters’ inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers’ finest work, and an enduring masterpiece.

At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small-town life. When Singer’s mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book’s heroine (loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Brilliantly attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated–and, through Mick Kelly, to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.

The Blind by A.F. Brady

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‘Taut and intelligent’ Prima

‘Utterly addictive’ Lisa Hall

Every morning, psychiatrist Sam James gets up at six forty-five. She has a shower, drinks a cup of coffee, then puts on her make-up.

She ignores the empty bottles piling up by her door.

On this particular morning, Sam is informed of a new patient’s arrival at Manhattan’s most notorious institution. Reputed to be deranged and dangerous, Richard is just the kind of impossible case Sam has built her reputation on. She is certain that she is the right doctor to treat such a difficult patient.

But then Sam meets Richard. And Richard seems totally sane.

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

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WHO ARE YOU WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING?

When beloved high school student Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched – not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the police officer assigned to investigate. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters – Cameron, Jade, and Russ – must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both.

In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka explores the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between reality and memory. Intoxicating and emotionally intense, Girl in Snow is a gripping debut novel that will linger long after the final page is turned.”

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

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In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

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In 1950, a young doctor called Norton Perina signs on with the anthropologist Paul Tallent for an expedition to the remote Micronesian island of Ivu’ivu in search of a rumored lost tribe. They succeed, finding not only that tribe but also a group of forest dwellers they dub “The Dreamers,” who turn out to be fantastically long-lived but progressively more senile. Perina suspects the source of their longevity is a hard-to-find turtle; unable to resist the possibility of eternal life, he kills one and smuggles some meat back to the States. He scientifically proves his thesis, earning worldwide fame and the Nobel Prize, but he soon discovers that its miraculous property comes at a terrible price. As things quickly spiral out of his control, his own demons take hold, with devastating personal consequences.

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

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In the male-dominated field of animation, Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses are a dynamic duo, the friction of their differences driving them: Sharon, quietly ambitious but self-doubting; Mel, brash and unapologetic, always the life of the party. Best friends and artistic partners since the first week of college, where they bonded over their working-class roots and obvious talent, they spent their twenties ensconced in a gritty Brooklyn studio. Working, drinking, laughing. Drawing: Mel, to understand her tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether.

Now, after a decade of striving, the two are finally celebrating the release of their first full-length feature, which transforms Mel’s difficult childhood into a provocative and visually daring work of art. The toast of the indie film scene, they stand at the cusp of making it big. But with their success come doubt and destruction, cracks in their relationship threatening the delicate balance of their partnership. Sharon begins to feel expendable, suspecting that the ever-more raucous Mel is the real artist. During a trip to Sharon’s home state of Kentucky, the only other partner she has ever truly known—her troubled, charismatic childhood best friend, Teddy—reenters her life, and long-buried resentments rise to the surface, hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

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It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett

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When Margaret’s fiancé, John, is hospitalized for depression in 1960s London, she faces a choice: carry on with their plans despite what she now knows of his condition, or back away from the suffering it may bring her. She decides to marry him. Imagine Me Gone is the unforgettable story of what unfolds from this act of love and faith. At the heart of it is their eldest son, Michael, a brilliant, anxious music fanatic who makes sense of the world through parody. Over the span of decades, his younger siblings–the savvy and responsible Celia and the ambitious and tightly controlled Alec–struggle along with their mother to care for Michael’s increasingly troubled and precarious existence..

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as The Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet. Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

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Are any of these books on your TBR list as well? Have you read any of them? If so, do tell in the comments 🙂